By Rhony Laigo
A month after the implementation of AB 60, almost half a million people who are believed to be undocumented have applied for a driver’s license in California, the Department of Motor Vehicle said in a news release dated Feb. 18, 2015.
The law – which allows people who cannot establish legal presence in the U.S. – took effect on January 2, 2015 and already has generated a total of 429,000 applicants who either took the test (362,000 written and 67,000 driving test), the DMV said. The numbers are for the month of January alone that ended on January 31, 2015.
Of this nearly half a million applicants, some 59,000 were granted a driver’s license. DMV said a license is “not issued until the applicant proves identity and residency with qualifying documents or through secondary review, passes a written knowledge exam, and completes a behind-the-wheel drive exam.” Qualifying documents can range from a foreign passport, to income tax returns, any other ID issued by the U.S. government, birth certificates, medical records, bills, etc.
The 59,000 newly-licensed motorists who benefited from AB 60 represents more than half of all licenses issued for January 2015, which stood at 113,172 non-commercial driver’s licenses for the first month of the year. For comparison, there were only 74,028 licenses issued for the same month in 2014.
DMV records showed that of the nearly half a million people, there were so far 236,000 unique individuals – those who may have passed the written and perhaps awaiting to pass their driving test – who started the application process.
Due to the huge number of applicants, DMV is advising people to make an appointment online to save time. DMV said it expects 1.4 million new customers over the next three years because of AB 60 as the agency added 900 more new employees to serve this burgeoning number, while adding Saturday office hours if not extending current ones. It also added four new offices across the state, while appointment windows were doubled from 45 to 90 to serve more customers.
From the DMV:Top 5 Reasons NOT To Visit the California DMV
1. Registration Renewal: Californians do not need to visit the DMV to renew registration because they can renew by mail, online, by phone, using a Self-Service Terminal, or visiting a DMV Business Partner or Auto Club. Be sure to complete any required smog inspection before renewing the registration.
2. Address Change: Californians do not need to visit the DMV to report a change of address because customers can easily change their address online at dmv.ca.gov.
3. Reporting a Vehicle Sale: Customers do not need to visit the DMV to report a vehicle sale because the forms for completing a Notice of Transfer and Release of Liability can be completed online at dmv.ca.gov.
4. Driver or Vehicle Record Request: Customers do not need to visit the DMV to get a driver or vehicle record because those records can be ordered online at dmv.ca.gov.
5. Most Driver License Renewals: Most customers will not need to visit a DMV to renew a driver license because a new photo is only required every 15 years. Check the DMV notice carefully because most of the time customers will be able to quickly renew a driver license online, by mail, or by calling 1-800-777-0133.